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January 22, 1978 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily, 1978-01-22
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Page 6-Sunday, January 22, 1978-The Michigan' Daily

The Michigan Doily-Sunday,

For Gael Greene,
the "Skies'' are grey
By Jeffrey Selbst

Lacan:
T HE INFLUENCE of Sigmund
Freud has penetrated just
about every aspect of Ameri-
can culture. The impact of Freudian-
ism crops up everywhere, in every-
thing from our best literature to
Better Homes and Gardens, from
college lectures to situation come-
dies, from advertisements to folk
protest songs.
And we tend to assume that in the
other industrialized Western coun-
tries, Freud is viewed in the same
way as he's viewed here, as the
grand figure in psychology. But
that's not the case. Only in England
does Freud enjoy nearly the kind of
stature he enjoys.in America.
In France, another man occupies
the position of the grand figure of
psychology. His name is Jacques
Lacan.

A radical return to I

THE PICTURE ON the back cover
of Gael Greene's novel Blue
Skies, No Candy, is of a beautiful
woman with long hair and narrow
cheekbones. The beauty seems to
have been ephemeral; today, Gael
Greene is another jowly author in her
mid-40s. Her hair is blonde-by-
choice, wrinkles beginning to insin-
uate themselves on her face.
Greene was in Detroit this past
week on yet another leg of a promo-
tional tour for the just-released pa-
perback printing. The novel was ori-
ginally published in 1976; it is
Greene's first. One thing is certain -
Greene doesn't agree with the critics,
who scorned her noved almost uni-
laterally as nothing more than a
mindless, unfunny food - and - sex
romp.
"When I read the reviews," she
said breathlessly, "I was devastated.
I called my ex-husband - he has
such good taste - and said how can
you let me do this? How can you let
me publish such a terrible thing?"
But that was just a momentary re-
action.
"I had just the greatest experi-
ence. I got a letter from a woman
who said that reading the book had
just made all the difference in her
life."
Greene is now working on two
more books. One was commissioned
by the publisher of Blue Skies, No
Candy. It is a novel entitled The
Sexual Archives of Dr. Barney Kin-
caid, and it concerns a man who has
difficulties putting love and sex
together in the same package.
"I showed it to a man, an editor
friend of mine, and he said there's
just one teeny spot in it that doesn't
sound like a man." She has about 100,
pages of it finished, and doesn't know
how it will end.
Jeffrey Selbst is a former Daily
arts editor.

Lacan is a Freudian - in fact, he
insists that he and his disciples are
more loyal to the theories of Freud
than are pupils of any other Freudian
school. But people in France don't
talk much about Freud himself.
Psychoanalysis, as it is popularly
ECRITS
By Jacques Lacan
,New York: Norton & Co., $16.75
known there, is Freudianism inter-
preted by and filtered through La-
can.
When psychoanalysis was estab-
lished as a social institution in
France, it was Lacanian psycho-
analysis which was adopted. About
two-thirds of the psychoanalysts in
that country now are Lacanians,
members of The Freudian School of

Paris, the institute founded by La-
can.
Says philosopher and University
professor Michel Pierssens, "In
France currently, Freud as such
doesn't exist any more. Psycho-
analysis is Lacan. When one dis-
cusses Freud, it's .always through
Lacan's citations of Freud, Lacan's
readings of Freud." Pierssens, a
Frenchman, is director of the Eng-
ligh-language philosophy journal Sub
Stance, which he describes as "pos-
sibly the only Lacanian journal in the
United States."
A condensed version of Lacan's
major work, Ecrits (the title means
"writings"), has recently been trans-
lated into English. The new volume is
a collection of essays written in the

E

The other is entitled The Prince of
Porn is a Happy Man, and it is a
series of interviews and diaries of a
porn star she met at a party who's
trying to make it in .the world of
straight movies. "When I met (Ja-
mie) I thought to myself, 'Here is a
man who really loves what he's
doing. Cultured, loves good food and
wine, good music.' But he has the
same problem as Barney, and that's
tragic. In a porno film, you're a star
if you can come on command. But to
be able to come on command and not
in private - that's a sad thing.
"He really doesn't like the title
very much."
Greene made a name for herself as
a food critic for New York Magazine.
"(Former editor) Clay Felker liked a
piece I'd done on a New York res-
taurant, and he got it into his head
that I was a food critic. So when he
offered me the job, it wasn't really
what I'd had in mind, but the thought
of having someone pay you for
something you like to do was more
than I could pass up."
She seems to have used her ex-
periences as a food * writer in the
novel, which contains lavish descrip-
tions of dinners eaten by Kate Alex-
ander, the heroine. Kate is a thirty-
eight-ish screenwriter who eats and
sleeps her way through a number of
.adventures, parties and situations.
CRITICS ALSO complained be-
cause the book is excessively
status-conscious. One reviewer re-
marked that it sounded as though she
went to parties and checked the
labels on everyone's clothing. This
criticism wounds her deeply. "I just
thought it was ironic that Kate, who'd
made it to a kind of minor celebrity,
would still be impressed with things
like that."
And what is a minor celebrity? "A'
minor celebrity is one whom other

Ja
The i
work of

See LACAN, Page 7

'

Daily Photo by BRAD BENJAMIN
Gael Greene

012

authors might know, or the public
might know by name. A major
celebrity is one whom everyone
knows - the ones who go to a party
and it becomes an 'A'- list party.
"An 'A' list party would have at it,
say - Barbara and Walter." Bar-
bara Walters and Walter Cronkite,
that is. A 'B' party has lesser celeb-
rities. This is Gael Greene's own
theory. "I want to make it clear that
no such list actually exists," she has-
tened to add.
Greene is a native of Detroit, grad-
uating from Central High in 1951. She
went to the University of Michigan
and then to New York to look for a
job. Finding none, she came back to
Detroit to work for UPI. "I wanted to
get to New York somehow," she said,
"and I asked them'to transfer me to
their New'York bureau and they said,
'Look, we have people here ten years
waiting to get transferred to New
York,' and I decided that wasn't for
me." So she went to New York on
long weekends looking for a job.
"The New York Post agreed to try
me out for a week if I could get a
vacation from UPI. They wouldn't
give me one, so I just quit and staked
everything on the tryout.
"If that didn't work out I was going
to Rome and make a new life for

myself," she said, with the air of one
delivering a punch-line. She paused.
"I never got to Rome."
After Detroit, Greene was to visit
"Memphis, Dallas, and Atlanta,"
and a host of other cities before she
makes it back home for four days.
"No one is ever forced to make these
promotional tours," she said, "and
some authors just flatly turn them
down. But I thought, well, if I'm
going to put so much time into
writing it, I can certainly put some
time into trying to push it.
"It's going to be on the New York
Times Bestseller List on the-22nd, I
think," she said, "and it's already
made "Publisher's Weekly."
GAE L GREENE HAS a lot to be
happy about, but she seems dis-,
turbed that the literary world didn't
take her more seriously. "I've al-
ways wanted to write novels," she
said. "Even when I was in Ann Arbor
I had a college novel. I kept a few
pages around me wherever I moved
for years. Everybody hated it. Then I
rewrote it. Then only the publisher
hated it."
"I think," said Gael Greene,
growing pensive for just a brief mo-
ment, "that a lot of people just didn't
stop to see what was there."

Il
C.,'
-~ rif41
o r\
/4 - ~-~ .*1,
IH
t1g

ROOK!4
Biattlegn(
of the m
Revolt
revisio"
By Stephen Hersh

_ (i.

,'' !
f 4V

From left: Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, Gilles Deleuze

anti-oedipus

Anti-Oedipus':

A nti-anal

(Continued from Page 3)
repressions) became part of the
Parisian intellectual vocabulary.
"And, recalls Pierssens, "there
were universities where suddenly
there were movements of people who
called themselves Schizo's" in loyal-
ty to schizoanalysis. "You had to do a
schizoanalysis of everything. It be-
came a fashion."
In addition to teaching at the
University, Pierssens, a Frenchman,
edits a philosophical journal, Sub .
Stance, and is author of the philo-
sophical work Le Tour de Babel [The
Tower of Babel], which was pub-
lished in the same series of editions
as the French version of Anti-Oedi-
pus.
N HIS OFFICE at the top floor of
the Modern Languages Building,
Pierssens explains in raid French..
thif Anti-dedipus buifds' from a

critique of the "establishment"
school of psychology in France to a
critique of all The large and small
structures that make up human
society. He says that Deleuze and
Guattari advise people "to refuse
psychoanalysis and to accept individ-
uality. They say psychiatry is an in-
strument of domination and repres-
sion. Whoever submits to psycho-
analysis, they say, is refusing indi-
viduality, is refusing himself, and is
in a way sacrificing himself to a to-
talitarian idea aiming at the aboli-
tion of differences. They say that it's
all right to be crazy, just as it's all
right to be a member of a minority.
"All of that is a politicalcritique,"
Pierssens continues. "Democracy, in
the traditional sense, is represenp-
tive democracy. One person is repre-
sented by another, And in tbe:name
of this. representation, -the. person

being represented is dominated,
crushed, by the person doing the rep-
resenting."
How it is that domination follows
from the social structures we take for
granted is difficult to explain -
much of the book is devoted to an ex-.
planation of exactly that. Anti-Oedi-
pus is a sort of map of the emotional
imprisonment which the authors say
permeates society, and it goes some
distance in sketching the pathway to
liberation from the inhibition and
suffocation that comes from being
socialized. -
The basic building block of human
experience, say Deleuze and Guat-
tari, is desire. The process of being
made into a civilized person, they
assert, is a process of having one's
desire denied, frustrated, diverted,
and, re-routed .into. pathways. that
support societal structures. Accord-.,

ing to the authors, the powers-that-be
in society are afraid of anything
which liberates desire or threatens to
do so, because freeing up desire is
revolutionary - it threatens the sup-
porting superstructure of the status
quo.
"What Deleuze and Guattari say,"
says Pierssens, "is that we should
start with affirmation, with will, with
multiplicity, with play."
D eLEUZE and Guattari sketch an
image of the human being as a
factory whose function is to produce
desire. And the style of the prose
reflects the authors' concern with
liberating raw feelings - the lan-
guage of the book is highly charged;
it brims with energy. And despite the
book's careful organization it seems
to reach out simultaneously jn~pyery
See ANTI-OEDIPUS. Page 8 :"

I N 1972, TWO French experts in
psychology, Gilles Deleuze and
Felix Guattari, became the talk of
Paris when they published a book
called Anti-Oedipus, placing them-
selves in opposition to the orthodox
French school of psychology. Anti-
Oedipus was seen as a manifesto for
a revolution in psychology and social

a sober re-evaluation of accepted
social and psychological thought;
others represented a radical-psycho-
logical - anthropological - philosophi-
cal chic.
ANTI-OEDIPUSI
By Gilles Deleuze
and Felix Guattari

thought - and it created a sensation. New York: Viking Press, 16.95
For a while, just about every French-
man and Frenchwoman who talked While all this was going on, hardly
about new ideas was talking about a whisper about it was heard in
uAnti-Oedipus. America. This was due partly to the
In challenging the French main- fact that Anti-Oedipus was unavail-
stream psychology of Jacques Lacan able to American audiences; it
and his Freudian School of Paris, wasn't until just recently that the
Anti-Oedipus set off a phenomenon book was translated into English and
which was a cross between a published here.
movement and a fad. Some of the UT EVEN NOW, hardly anyone
partisans of Anti-Oedipus advocated Bhere knows or cares about the
book. And that's largely because it's
Stephen Hersh is a former Sunday a book that's very hard to penetrate.
t Sa. .k gihe ebk. _.' . .. - i ' o -understand-Anti-Oedipus; -you

have to ha
tation of I
Lacan, you
And even
requisites,
follow.
But in F
a furor. S2
fessor of l
"The book
about a lc
years ago
first anti
suddenly
People we
many mor
tions fron
and phras
such as '
the name
to free p
Deleuze
prison of
4See A

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